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National Reptile Awareness Day

Updated: Oct 22, 2019

Would you believe that there are as many reptiles kept as pets in the UK as there are dogs? Incredibly, it's true! With more than 8 million reptiles in our homes, this peculiar pet is a popular choice with Britons. However, despite their popularity, reptiles still remain somewhat of a mystery to many of us...

To promote education and appreciation of these cute critters, National Reptile Awareness Day takes place every October 21st. To honour this year's celebration, Support Adoption For Pets has teamed up with the National Centre of Reptile Welfare to reveal their top 10 facts about reptiles...


1) There are 8 million reptile pets in the UK

In the UK today, there are as many reptiles kept as pets as there are dogs, with a total of 8 million each.

2) Some reptiles don’t use their noses to smell

Instead of smelling through their noses like humans, snakes and lizards flick their tongues in the air to capture smells.

3) Reptiles can be found all over the world except one place

There are more than 8,000 species of reptiles on the planet, and they can be found on every continent of the globe except Antarctica. This is because reptiles do not produce their own heat but instead rely on natural sources of it in the environment. This means it’s difficult for them to survive in cold temperatures.

4) Reptiles are older than dinosaurs

The first reptiles appeared on earth in the early Carboniferous period, around 350 million years ago. This makes them older than dinosaurs.

5) Obesity is a common problem among reptiles

Many reptiles, particularly those kept in captivity, are obese. This is mainly due to owners overfeeding them and being unaware of their natural food habits. For example, tortoises and green iguanas are both often fed meat in captivity, but they wouldn't necessarily eat it in the wild.

6) Chameleons do not change colour to blend into different backgrounds Contrary to popular belief, chameleons do not change their colour to blend in with different backgrounds. Chameleons are naturally camouflaged with their surroundings (for example, most are predominantly green to match their treetop environment). In actual fact, their colour changes are more related to temperature regulation and emotional changes. For example, a frightened or angry chameleon will turn extremely bright in colour.

7) Bearded dragons get their name from their ability to mimic a beard

Bearded dragons are one of the most popular pet reptile species. They get their name from their ability to puff out the skin under their throats which resembles a beard. This is often used as a defence mechanism as it makes them look more threatening to predators and other animals.

8) It’s not unusual for a bearded dragon to wave at you

Bearded dragons can develop unique behaviour traits, such as moving their arms in a way that looks like they are waving. There are many different beliefs as to what this means, but the general consensus is that the ‘wave’ is a method of communication which signifies they have recognised another species.

9) Snakes aren’t as dangerous as you might think

Less than 2 per cent of the world’s snakes are considered harmful to humans, with more than two-thirds classed as non-venomous.

10) The Archbishop of Canterbury had a pet tortoise

The earliest record of reptiles being kept as pets dates back to 1625, when William Laud, the Bishop of London, purchased a spur-thighed tortoise. It lived with him at Lambeth Palace when he became Archbishop of Canterbury. The tortoise lived for 120 years before being accidentally decapitated  by a gardener.

A huge thanks to Support Adoption For Pets for sending us these fun facts. We hope you enjoyed reading all about reptiles and learned something new!

We'll be back soon with another blog all about our dog-friendly trip to the Cotswolds.

Until then... Love, nose licks and waggy tails,

From the WildPaws team x

** If you've got any fun facts or pieces you'd like to share, get in touch at **

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